A Method for Determining Costs Associated with Laboratory Error

Cavenaugh, Edward Lee
August 1981
American Journal of Public Health;Aug1981, Vol. 71 Issue 8, p831
Academic Journal
Abstract: A study directed toward developing a method for determining costs associated with laboratory error was developed, relying on panels of physicians to rank frequency of performance and impact of error of various laboratory tests. Cost estimates of error impact were then developed, using cost of error to patient as the basis. Findings indicate that economic costs of laboratory error differ with the test. Probable costs per error can be used to identify tests with the highest costs to patients. These cost-per-error-data, when combined with test volume data and error rates by test, will help pinpoint the tests that should receive priority effort in a laboratory improvement program. The method developed could serve as one basis for developing an effective laboratory improvement program: it could also be used for budget .justification and ultimately for program evaluation. (Am J Public Health 1981:71:831-834.)


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